Friday, November 03, 2006
Md. Democrats Say GOP Plans to Block Voters
A recently distributed guide for Republican poll watchers in Maryland spells out how to aggressively challenge the credentials of voters and urges these volunteers to tell election judges they could face jail time if a challenge is ignored.I don't know how many times I've titled a blogging like this, but count on the Republicans to keep coming up with reasons.
Democrats said yesterday they consider the handbook, obtained by The Washington Post, evidence of a Republican effort to block people from voting Tuesday.
"The tenor of the material is that they are asking folks, if not directing them, to challenge voters," said Bruce L. Marcus, an attorney for the state Democratic Party. "It's really tantamount to a suppression effort."[...]
Democrats, for instance, have distributed advice to their poll watchers to "make sure that voters are not being turned away."
"The key is the perspective each party brings to the process," Marcus said. "Our philosophy is, if we have a qualified voter, we're going to turn things inside out and upside down to get them to be able to vote."
The GOP poll-watcher program, outlined in a 13-page document, states: "Your most important duty as a poll worker is to challenge people who present themselves to vote but who are not authorized to vote."
All I've ever been told as a poll watcher (which I've done many times, and may do this time too) is to mark your ticks on the voter registration list, and if anything looks suspicious to phone the office immediately.
By suspicious we always meant suspicion of GOP suppression efforts, harassment, etc. Where I volunteered in the past, they always had the nastiest bully-boy Republican at the table who once made me go back and get my ID in the rain and cold in order to vote (even tho we apparently don't have to show ID in Illinois). ADVICE: bring your voter cards, drivers license, utility bills, credit cards, etc. etc. with you.
BUT ON THE WHOLE IT'S A PLEASANT, SOCIAL EVENT, with plenty of DONUTS. I fear that stories of suppression themselves sometimes make people say, "what's the use"?
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